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Legislative News

January 18, 2023

Read the most recent Legislative Brief here.

Estate Tax Overhaul, Tax Relief Among Bills Filed for 193rd General Court
Senate Minority Leader, Bruce Tarr filed legislation mirroring certain tax relief proposals previously championed by former Governor Charlie Baker. Among the relief proposals in Leader Tarr’s legislation is an overhaul to the state’s estate tax code, which would increase the threshold to $2 million and eliminate the cliff effect. We look forward to continuing or work with the Legislature and Governor Healey’s team to see the estate tax modernized and other relief enacted.

The Eagle Tribune’s Christian Wade has more on the tax relief legislation here.

You can read the legislation filed by Senator Tarr here
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to Begin Accepting 2022 Tax Year Returns on Monday, January 23
The IRS recently announced next Monday, January 23, as the official start to the 2023 tax filing season. For resources and additional information from the IRS, click here

Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR): 2022 Tax Forms and Instructions Available 
The DOR released tax year 2022 tax forms, for personal income tax and corporate tax, which are available on the DOR website. Please note: Certain corporate excise forms have been finalized while others are under draft form

If you have comments or questions, send them here.
Massachusetts DOR: Conformity of Personal Income Tax to the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) as of January 1, 2022
The DOR released a Technical Information Release (TIR) explaining certain Massachusetts tax law changes contained in the FY23 budget. These changes include (i) the conformity of the personal income tax to the Internal Revenue Code (Code) as amended on January 1, 2022, and in effect for the taxable year; (ii) the decoupling of the personal income tax from Code § 199A, which provides a federal deduction for qualified business income from a qualified trade or business operated directly or through a pass-through entity; (iii) the creation of a personal income tax exclusion for the forgiveness of student loans; and (iv) the repeal of an unconstitutional tax on illegal drugs.

Click here to read TIR 23-1.

The DOR has committed to releasing additional guidance on other areas that have yet to be addressed. If you have requests for additional guidance, please email Larry Liuzzo.

Share your expertise - and promote your profession! 
What’s your best advice for taxpayers this busy season? Share it with us and we’ll feature (and tag) you in our new Tax Tip Tuesday spotlight on social media throughout tax season. Submissions may also be shared with the media for potential member interviews on hot tax topics. You can submit your advice here

Draft 2022 Tax Forms are Available for Review
The DOR released draft tax year 2022 tax forms, for personal income tax and corporate tax, which are available on the DOR website. If you have comments or questions, send them here.

Federal and State Tax News

Guidance for Federal Relief Programs

U.S. Department of Labor Announce Online Portal for Paid Leave Eligibility
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released an online portal through which workers can determine their eligibility for paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).To view the Families First Coronavirus Response Act FAQs, click here.

Massachusetts Resources

Department of Public Health (DPH): Click here to read updates from the DPH regarding COVID-19. 

Division of Local Services (DLS): For those who work with cities and towns across the Commonwealth, the DLS has a dedicated webpage that provides finance guidance to city and town officials related to the state of emergency. For more information, click here.For urgently needed guidance, please email the DLS.

Older Coverage

One-Click Surtax Survey Results
Here are the results from the survey in the December 22 issue of the Legislative Brief. Thank you to those who took the time to respond!

In response to the passage of the surtax on income over $1 million, are you seeing an increase in client interest in changing their domicile?  

104 Total Responses

  • YES - 73 Members
  • NO – 31 Members

MassCPAs Vice President of Advocacy Zach Donah, CAE, was recently featured in a State House News Service article discussing the uncertainty surrounding the surtax and the impact it will have on Massachusetts taxpayers. You can read the article

Massachusetts Legislature Passes $3.7 Billion Economic Development Bill; Permanent Tax Relief Not Included
Earlier this month, the Massachusetts Legislature passed a $3.7 billion economic development that “will help ease the financial strain brought on by challenging economic conditions in Massachusetts,” according to a joint statement from the leaders. The legislation does not include any permanent tax relief provisions, including the estate tax overhaul, that were included in the original bill. 

The MassCPAs government affairs team will continue to advocate for an overhaul to the estate tax code, among other relief provisions. If you would like to get involved in our advocacy efforts, sign up to become a CPA Advocate

The Boston Globe’s Matt Stout and Samantha Gross have more here.The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Unveils Pilot Program to Improve Customer Service on Practitioner Priority Service (PPS) Line
The IRS unveiled a pilot program dedicated to improving customer service and reducing wait times on the PPS phone line. In response to significantly increased hold-times, exacerbated by third-party call center-type vendors, the program will prompt PPS line callers to verbally repeat phrases before being transferred to a live IRS agent.   

You can read more about the IRS pilot program here. 

MassCPAs Fair Share Amendment Ballot Poll Results
Last week, we asked you to take a quick poll on the Fair Share Amendment, which would impose a 4% surtax on income over $1 million. Thank you for taking the time to answer! 

Below are the results:

Based on the low estate tax threshold, how often do you advise wealthy clients to change their domicile from Massachusetts? (200 total clicks)

  • 56% - Sometimes
  • 15% - Never
  • 29% - Always

Should the ballot question pass, how will that impact the advice you give to clients regarding a change in domicile? (163 total clicks)

  • 18% - No Impact
  • 26% - Somewhat More Likely to Recommend
  • 47% - Much More Likely to Recommend
  • 7% - Less Likely to Recommend
  • 2% - N/A

Do you support the Fair Share Amendment? (160 total clicks)

  • 17% - Yes
  • 75% - No
  • 8% - Not Sure

To view a summary of the summary of the proposed Fair Share Amendment, click here.

A Conversation with the Candidates for Governor of Massachusetts 
The MassCPAs Government Affairs team, in collaboration with Leanne Scott, JD, principal at Baker Newman Noyes (BNN) and chair of the MassCPAs Public Policy Group, interviewed the candidates running for Massachusetts Governor: former State Representative Geoff Diehl, business owner Chris Doughty and Attorney General Maura Healey. 

To read the interview in the July issue of SumNews, click here

Massachusetts House Cannabis Bill Decouples the State from Section 280E of the IRC
In May, the Massachusetts House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed cannabis reform legislation that would, in part, decouple Massachusetts from Section 280E of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) and allow for cannabis businesses to take the same business deductions as all other businesses. We were pleased to testify in support of the amendment to decouple from 280E, which you can read here

Thank you to House Revenue Chair Representative Mark Cusack for sponsoring and to Representative David Rogers for co-sponsoring the amendment. We are grateful to the House for adopting the amendment to the legislation. If you missed it, Dan Adams at The Boston Globe has more on the details of the cannabis bill here.  

Special thanks to Charlotte Cathro, CPA, of Cathro LLC and chair of MassCPAs Cannabis Committee, and to our Cannabis Committee for their work and advocacy. We look forward to working with the Legislature to advocate for this amendment to remain in the final bill and passed into law. 

To join our Cannabis Committee, click here.

Influx of Federal Aid to Trigger Spike in Single Audits
As of June 2021, over $5 trillion in federal COVID-19 relief funding has been allocated across the country, of which Massachusetts has received roughly $73 billion, including $13 billion through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).  The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) estimates that such an influx of federal aid will lead to 30,000 new single audits. For tips on working with first-time single audit clients, click here. Renee Davis, CPA, a partner at Powers & Sullivan, LLC, and co-chair of MassCPAs' Governmental Accounting & Auditing Committee, had some advice for how to handle these audits, which was featured in our July issue of SumNews.  

Major Update to Workforce Training Fund
Your upcoming CPE with us could be free, thanks to a recent change to the State Workforce Training and Express Fund! All MassCPAs conferences, customized team trainings and seminars qualify for this program, so work with us to save on your CPE. You must be registered and apply for reimbursement three weeks in advance of the course to qualify – act now! To learn more, click here or contact Julia Ekelund. 

Massachusetts Unemployment Insurance Fraud Resources
Unemployment Insurance Fraud is on the rise again.If you believe you may have had a false unemployment claim filed using your identity, contact the DUA here or at 877.626.6800. Please stay vigilant.For more information and resources, click here.

Professional Resources

MassCPAs Legislative Brief
This newsletter offers information and resources available through the federal and state governments regarding business loan programs, updates from the Departments of Labor and Health, and news as it relates to the impacts of COVID-19 on the accounting profession, the economy and the Society. Check out past issues here.